One month after meeting with Jeff Sessions, the attorney general who at the time was one of Donald Trump’s top campaign surrogates, Russia’s ambassador to the US denied meeting with any Trump advisers during the election, according to recordings obtained by CNN.
Addressing the Detroit Economic Club at Lawrence Technological University on October 27, the ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, was asked “whether his embassy had met with either of the political campaigns during the course of the election” or whether he had met “with any Trump advisers or Trump himself at the convention in Cleveland,” according to CNN.
Kislyak reportedly replied: “No, but we met those people who came to see all the ambassadors who were sitting in a special lounge there specifically reserved for the diplomatic corp. and I was among those who were there talking to members of the Congress, to all the peoples who cared to come to us and talk to us.”
In September, however, Kislyak and Sessions met privately while Sessions, then a US senator, was working with the Trump campaign, according to The Washington Post. The two also met at a Heritage Foundation event at the Republican National Convention in July.
A representative for Sessions said both instances were in his capacity as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and not as a surrogate for Trump. But Sessions, who was appointed attorney general in February, said during his confirmation hearing that he had never communicated with any Russian officials while he was working with the Trump campaign.
Sessions has since recused himself from investigations into the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russia.
Michael Flynn resigned as national security adviser four days after The Washington Post and The New York Times reported, together citing nearly a dozen current and former officials, that he had spoken with Kislyak about sanctions before Trump was sworn in, despite Flynn’s repeated denials that anything sensitive was discussed with Kislyak.
The Russian embassy did not respond to request for comment.